By Ellie Gavin || Campus Life Editor
This Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMCA) will host a discussion for members of the F&M community to gather and discuss their reactions to the ongoing controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood. The event will take place during uncommon hour, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at OMCA’s office at 625 College Avenue.
Sophomore Ceci Plaza, who interns for OMCA and organized this event, said the purpose of the forum is to give students an opportunity to express their honest thoughts and opinions on the matter.
“Planned Parenthood has been a hot-button topic recently and, before the protest tree was cut down, there were many posters advocating support for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood also visited campus and handed out t-shirts and other goodies with the cooperation of the Women’s Center,” Plaza said. “Their presence on campus, whether you agree with what [they] do or not, makes me think that this is something we need to talk about.”
Plaza said the event will consist of a few discussion questions to get the conversation going, but for the most part, Plaza hopes that the conversation will be free-flowing. The idea is for attendees get to have an honest, open conversation and speak freely about whatever aspects of the conversation they care most about.
Plaza stressed that while the issues surrounding planned parenthood and health care are important for everyone to be thinking and talking about, they are especially relevant to the collegiate community, specifically college women.
“The issues surrounding Planned Parenthood are affecting women across the nation and college-aged women need to know about what’s happening to their healthcare,” Plaza said. “College campuses can also be sites of protest, where students can organize to show their support or lack thereof for any political topic, movement, or decision. This discussion is important for everyone to have, but it’s particularly important for us here at F&M because we want our campus community to be well-informed and educated about their options.”
While Plaza thinks that this is an extremely important conversation, she also realizes that the nature of the subject can make many people uncomfortable, and hopes that this discussion can foster more open, respectful communication among students who may otherwise be hesitant to speak their mind.
“The goal of this discussion is just to get people talking in a safe space. Depending on your beliefs and opinions, Planned Parenthood can be a touchy subject, but we want to open that door,” she said. “With food and friends, even this potentially uncomfortable topic can be approached in a non-threatening way where everyone can make their voice heard.”
No matter what their opinion on Planned Parenthood is, Plaza hopes the discussion helps everyone to be more informed and comfortable.
“My hope is that people will walk away with an understanding of various perspectives and an idea of their position on the matter and what they can do to show their support for Planned Parenthood if they choose to do so.”